Smoky Red Pepper Crema Recipe + 6 Substitutes!

Do you like spicy but creamy sauces on your fish, shrimp, tacos, or sandwiches? Then look further than Smoky Red Pepper Crema sauce! You have probably tried this sauce from Hello Fresh, but did you know that you do not need to buy their recipe boxes to enjoy this delicious creamy goodness? You can easily make smoky red pepper crema at home and save your hard-earned $$$!

In our article, I will share the easiest smoky red pepper crema recipe (which only takes 15 mins) and show you the 6 best smoky red pepper crema substitutes! Let’s get started!

What Is Smoky Red Pepper Crema, And What Does It Taste Like?

Smoky red pepper crema is a Mexican thick, tangy and zesty condiment made of roasted red peppers, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, smoked paprika, black pepper, parsley, and kosher salt. Smoky red pepper crema has a rich smoky, tangy, and spicy flavor with slightly sweet and zesty notes.

Thanks to its irresistible umami flavor, smoky red pepper crema sauce goes well with practically anything, from sandwiches, tacos, wraps, and pasta to fish, shrimp, chicken, beef, and even mashed potatoes. This condiment can be used as a spread as well as a dipping sauce – I like using it for dipping French fries, but it also tastes good with celery sticks and even onion rings.

Perhaps, the most popular Smoky red pepper crema comes from Hello Fresh; however, unfortunately, it is not possible to purchase the sauce separately – if you want to enjoy Hello Fresh smoky red pepper crema, you will need to pay extra and buy their recipe boxes. If that does not sound good to you, I recommend you make your own sauce at home!

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Easy Smoky Red Pepper Crema Copycat Recipe (Hello Fresh)


  • 2 roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 cup heavy cream/sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Parsley (optional)


  1. Wash red bell peppers, peel, remove stem, deseed, and cut in half
  2. Roast red bell peppers in a pan for 10-15 minutes, regularly flipping to ensure evenly roast
  3. Place red bell peppers in a food processor and blend for 30-45 seconds until they turn into puree
  4. Add heavy cream, garlic cloves, vinegar, lemon juice, smoked paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, and parsley leaves, and blend for 45 more seconds.
  5. Place the sauce in the fridge for 2-4 hours before eating to let it cool down and become thicker.
  6. Enjoy! Store smoky red bell pepper crema in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Smoky Red Pepper Crema Nutrition

Since smoky red pepper crema is a heavy cream-based sauce, it is not low in calories. Smoky red pepper crema sauce contains 172 calories, 14 g of fat, 1.4 g of protein, 10.9 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of dietary fiber, and 4.6 g of sugar per serving.

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6 Best Smoky Red Pepper Crema Substitutes

Sour Cream

Since smoky red pepper crema is made with sour cream, the best substitute for it will be sour cream! If you cannot be bothered making the sauce or simply do not have time, you can grab sour cream from the fridge and add 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and stir well or blend in a food processor for 30 seconds. You can also add half a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice to add some zest to your condiment and even add a teaspoon of pureed red peppers to get that nice orange color and delicious spicy notes.

Spicy Mayo

Who doesn’t like spicy mayo? Its spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet notes will go with virtually any dish, whether you are in the mood for tacos, sandwiches, French fries, onion rings, wraps, burgers, sushi, fried rice, noodles, nuggets, or even salads! I often use spicy mayo as a marinade for meat, so there are no limitations!

Remember though, that spicy mayo is super high in calories, just like regular mayo, so it is best enjoyed in moderation. All in all, spicy mayo is the second best substitute for smokey red pepper crema because it has a similar flavor profile and even color!

Crème Fraîche

Crème fraîche is made with pasteurized cream and fermented with buttermilk or sometimes sour cream. The result is a smooth and thick texture and oh-so-good creamy, tangy, and slightly savory flavor that is perfect for eating on its own, using as a dipping sauce, adding to soups, scrambled eggs, mixing into baked goods, or simply whipping with sugar and serving with fresh fruit.

When using crème fraîche as a smoky red pepper crema alternative, remember to add paprika, garlic powder, and pureed red bell peppers to add spicy and smoky notes and, of course, a noble reddish hue.

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Chipotle Sauce

Chipotle sauce is spicy, tangy, and creamy, so it acts as a perfect smoky red pepper crema. However, the chipotle sauce is not as smoky, so I recommend adding 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to improve the flavor profile. The chipotle sauce has much more pronounced tart and zesty notes from cilantro and lime juice, so you will not need to add any parsley or lemon juice to this sauce – simply use it as a smoky red pepper crema alternative.

Mexican Crema

Made with crème fraîche, lime juice, and salt, Mexican crema has a perfect texture and flavor profile to be used as a substitute for smoky red pepper crema. Simply add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper, and a pinch of black pepper, and you have a perfect condiment for your Mexican dishes and more! Mexican crema has a high fat content (around 30%), so you will enjoy a creamy deliciousness with addictive smoky notes from smoked paprika.


Last but not least – tahini! This is not the most obvious option, but yes, tahini can be a decent smoky red pepper crema substitute if you add a few ingredients. Tahini is perfect for those who follow a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant as it is made from toasted ground hulled sesame, oil, and salt. This Middle Eastern condiment is calorie-dense (1 tablespoon contains a whopping 89 calories!), but it is very healthy when eaten in moderation.

To use tahini as a substitute for smoky red pepper crema, simply add to it 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1/2 cup of vegetable broth to make the texture less thick, and 1/2 cup of pureed roasted red peppers, and blend the mixture in a food processor for 20-30 seconds.

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Now that you know how to make smoky red pepper crema, it is time to go to the shop and stock up on the ingredients for this creamy and spicy goodness! No matter the dish, chances are you can enjoy it with one of the most delicious condiments! And if you are looking for an alternative, just try one of the 6 smoky red pepper crema substitutes!

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